• Wednesday Feb 17, 2016

    Sarvas experience could prove key to D.C. in SCCL

    Marcelo Sarvas (white jersey), shown playing for the LA Galaxy against Herediano in the 2012-13 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, is expected to be a key component of the D.C. United midfield this year. (Photo: German Alegria)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Without yet playing a match for D.C. United, Marcelo Sarvas already holds an appreciation for his new club’s history as one of the most decorated in Major League Soccer.

    “It’s a club that is always fighting for something,” says the 34-year-old Brazilian, who spent three successful years with the LA Galaxy before a frustrating 2015 season with the Colorado Rapids. “I just want to be the same as I was in LA. Happy to play soccer, step on the field knowing that we are able to win games, to play for something. That, I missed in Colorado.”

    After United acquired him at the beginning of February, Sarvas will get an early chance to play in two big matches when D.C. faces Queretaro in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) quarterfinals.

    With Perry Kitchen leaving the team and Davy Arnaud yet to return from concussion symptoms, D.C. manager Ben Olsen is counting on the veteran to provide two-way quality in central midfield over the two-leg series.

    “We think he fits us,” Olsen said. “We know he’s a good passer and he’s going to help us on the offensive end out of our buildup. And, then again, he’s got a nice bite to him, and he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves.”

    Sarvas is plenty familiar with the SCCL, previously competing in the tournament with the Galaxy and Costa Rica’s Alajuelense. He also got familiar with playing at altitude last season in Denver, which sits at an elevation close to Queretaro’s roughly 6,000 feet.

    “I think it’s very tough, especially in the first half, it’s hard,” expressed Sarvas. “You try to breathe, and you don’t find (it), your legs doesn’t work, your reaction is two times as slow.”

    United is in its second consecutive SCCL quarterfinal, falling 6-4 on aggregate to Alajuelense last year. The Black and Red were doomed by a 5-2 loss in the first leg in Costa Rica, a result Sarvas knows can’t be repeated in Queretaro on February 23.

    “For me, when you’re in the quarterfinals, especially against a Mexican team, (it’s) how are you going to do away?” Sarvas stressed. “That’s going to be the key.”

    In the bigger picture, Sarvas believes he’s set up to succeed with his new club, even if the trade came as a surprise.

    “Unfortunately the player is the last one to know about his life, where he’s going, if it’s good for family,” he finished. “I’m lucky that I’m coming to a great town, a great club, and everything looks perfect for me.”

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